May 9, 1995: Due South goes East

Due_South-1995Due South is a Canadian crime series with elements of comedy. The series was created by Paul Haggis, produced by Alliance Communications, and stars Paul Gross, David Marciano, Gordon Pinsent, Beau Starr, Catherine Bruhier, Camilla Scott, Ramona Milano, and latterly Callum Keith Rennie. It ran for 67 episodes over four seasons, from 1994 to 1999.

Set in Chicago, the show follows the adventures of Constable Benton Fraser (Gross), an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who is attached to the Canadian consulate but works with Detective Raymond Vecchio of the Chicago Police Department to solve crimes, assisted by Fraser’s companion Diefenbaker, a deaf white wolf. From season three, Fraser works with a Detective Stanley Kowalski (Callum Keith Rennie), who is placed in the department to impersonate Detective Vecchio, who goes on an undercover assignment.

The premise of such a working relationship is established in the pilot episode when Fraser is temporarily posted to Chicago to assist Vecchio in the investigation of the murder of Fraser’s father, who was also of the RCMP. In the process, he also exposes an environmental corruption scandal involving some members of the RCMP, causing much embarrassment and loss of jobs in his native Northwest Territories, which leaves him persona non grata in Canada and within the RCMP and posted permanently to Chicago.

A police comedy-drama, it plays on the stereotypical differences between Canadian and American culture, and in particular, Fraser’s extremely polite persona and exceptional tracking and detection abilities, contrasted with Detective Vecchio’s lack of manners and corner-cutting methods.

Due South originally debuted as a television movie on CTV in Canada and CBS in the TV-UK-05-09-1995United States. After higher-than-anticipated ratings, Due South was turned into a continuing drama series in 1994. It was the first Canadian-made series to have a prime time slot on a major US network. After the 24-episode first season, CBS cancelled the series, but the show’s success in Canada and the United Kingdom (where it debuted this day in 1995) enabled the production company to raise enough money to mount a second 18-episode season, which ran from 1995 to 1996. The show was once again shown on CBS in late 1995 after many Autumn shows had failed (CBS ordered an additional five episodes but broadcast only four of them), but CBS did not renew the series. After a one-year hiatus, CTV revived the series in 1997 with international investment (from the BBC, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, and TF1), and it ran for two further seasons, until 1999. [Wikipedia]

Watch the intro on the Alin YouTube Channel.

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